This selection is based on his/her Arkansas Augmented Benchmark score of less than proficient in math, literacy, and/or science. If you[r] child is below proficient in any area on the Arkansas Augmented Benchmark exam the school is required to develop an Academic Improvement Plan (AIP) and provide remediation for the deficient areas. Our remediation will be provided during Jump Start. . .
Do grades not count for anything anymore? What will one or two hours a day for three weeks accomplish in "remediating" students? Some students are required to attend for one hour in the middle of the day. Parents work. How in the middle of the work day are parents supposed to get kids to and from summer school for one hour, every day, for three weeks? Transportation is not provided. What about students who are bus riders during the regular school year? How will they get there? Is the school receiving additional funding for all these students to attend summer school? What's a parent to do?
Quite simply, students in Arkansas were taught (& learned) using a specific set of curriculum standards but tested on a different, specific set of curriculum standards.
Arkansas law (A.C.A. 6-15-2009) states: (4) A student in grades three through eight (3-8) identified as not passing a benchmark assessment and who fails to participate in the subsequent academic improvement plan shall be retained and shall not be promoted to the next appropriate grade until: (A) The student is deemed to have participated in an academic improvement plan; or (B) The student passes the benchmark assessment for the current grade level in which the student is retained.
7.02. Students identified as failing to achieve at the proficient level. . .shall be evaluated by school personnel, who shall jointly develop a remediation plan with the student’s parents. The remediation plan (AIP or if appropriate IRI) will assist the student in achieving the expected standard and will describe the parent’s role and responsibilities as well as the consequences for the student’s failure to participate in the plan.
7.02.1 The AIP shall be prepared using the format designed by the Department of Education. However, the local school may adjust the format as deemed necessary.
7.02.2 The AIP shall be developed cooperatively by appropriate teachers and/or other school personnel knowledgeable about the student’s performance or responsible for the remediation in consultation with the student’s parents. An analysis of student strengths and deficiencies based on test data and previous student records shall be available for use in developing the plan. The plan shall be signed by the appropriate school administrator and the parent/guardian.
It seems that not only are parental rights being usurped but that parents' lack of understanding concerning Arkansas law is being exploited. In the process, students are being strong-armed into attending summer school with threats of retention if they don't. Disturbingly, it gets worse.
You see, this past school year Arkansas students were educated under the Common Core State Standards. However, students were tested using the Arkansas Benchmark Assessment which is aligned to the previous Arkansas Curriculum Frameworks. Quite simply, students in Arkansas were taught (& learned) using a specific set of curriculum standards but tested on a different, specific set of curriculum standards.
Once again our kids are paying the price for the ill-planned, botched Common Core State Standards implementation. For students who took end-of-course assessments in Algebra I, Biology and Geometry, the negative impact is even more damaging as the test results will become part of the student's permanent record.
7.04. The results of end-of-course assessments shall become a part of each student’s transcript or permanent record. Each course for which a student completes the general end-of-course assessment shall be recorded with the performance level (advanced,
proficient, basic or below-basic).
These and other harmful effects of standardized testing are the legacy of the failed "No Child Left Behind" education reform. The Common Core State Standards Initiative picks up that legacy and exacerbates the ill-effects, leaving students and parents in the wake of its destruction. When does it stop? When do school administrators, superintendents, elected officials, and our state department of education stand up and say "Enough is enough! In Arkansas, we put children first!"
Here at Arkansas Against Common Core, we share the same hope as Stan Karp of Rethinking Schools:
Whether this growing resistance will lead to better, more democratic efforts to sustain and improve public education, or be overwhelmed by the massive testing apparatus that NCLB left behind and that the Common Core seeks to expand, will depend on the organizing and advocacy efforts of those with the most at stake: parents, educators, and students. As usual, organizing and activism are the only things that will save us, and remain our best hope for the future of public education and the democracy that depends on it.